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Delhi’s railway division cash-strapped; stalls upgrade works

Work on the upgrade of Delhi’s three main railway stations has been hit as the National Capital’s railways division has run its annual budget dry in just six months.

Written by Sweta Dutta | New Delhi |
November 7, 2011 2:16:30 am

Work on the upgrade of Delhi’s three main railway stations has been hit as the National Capital’s railways division has run its annual budget dry in just six months.

The shortage of funds threatens to affect the seasonal arrangements that the railways makes in its signalling and telecom departments to overcome fog in the winter months,said officials.

The expenditure details accessed by Newsline show that the division has not only overshot its signalling and telecom budget by more than two times and exhausted the entire passenger amenities fund,but it also has pending bills of up to Rs two crore.

Officials say the decline in budget allocation this year has hit operations badly,and since some of the work areas involve safety issues work could not be stopped,leading to excess spending.

Divisional Railway Manager,Northern Railways,Ashwani Lohani said the money crunch is affecting operations,and they are now trying to prioritise work to make ends meet.

“We’ll carry out the most pressing passenger amenity works first. Whatever plans of redevelopment and facelift of stations have been chalked out will continue to be there on our to-do list,but the time frame for execution will just get extended,” he said.

The annual passenger amenities fund for the railways’ Delhi division was cut down from Rs 25 crore last year to Rs. 13.9 crore in this fiscal’s railway budget.

A senior railway official said upgrade work at the New Delhi,the Old Delhi and Hazrat Nizamuddin stations has been stalled and only basic repairs are being carried out.

As a result,plans prepared by the railways’ Delhi division to redevelop the rundown Old Delhi railway station this year could be delayed,Lohani said.

Officials said they have dropped plans to develop a waiting hall at the Paharganj end of the New Delhi railway station.

Funds for signalling and telecom were also slashed in this year’s budget,from Rs. 4.77 crore last year to Rs. 2.19 crore,the officials added.

The Delhi division has already spent Rs. 4.90 crore,more than double its allocation this year,and is now staring at a winter when funds will be required for signalling and telecom arrangements to overcome fog.

Officials said crucial works could be hit hard if the budget is not revised in the upcoming quarterly review.

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